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Copyright Guide

I want my students to read an article / book chapter. Can I just upload my copy to Blackboard?

Does the library own it?

How can I tell if the library owns it?

  • If the library owns a digital version of the article, you can share the stable link with students. Check out our Library Resources for Blackboard guide for instructions on how to find the stable link.

  • If the library owns a print version of the article, we can likely scan it for you and put it on Course Reserves. The best way to do this is to submit a request via our online Course Reserves form; here's an example of how you might fill out that part of the form:

    Screenshot of faculty reserves request form with 'Penfield owns this in print' selected

Do you own it?

  • If you own a print version of the article, we can likely scan it for you and put it on Course Reserves. The best way to do this is to submit a request via our online Course Reserves form, and then bring the article to the Check Out / Course Reserves desk. Here's how you might fill out that part of the form:

    Screenshot of faculty reserves request form with 'I will bring a physical copy to the library to be scanned.' selected

  • If you own a digital version of the article, it's a bit more complex:

    • First, check to see if the journal's terms of use say anything about educational use. For example, here's a screenshot from the Table of Contents of Geology:

      Caption: The highlighted text in the image reads, "Individual scientists are hereby granted permission, without fees or further requests to GSA, to use a single figure, a single table, and/or a brief paragraph of text in other subsequent works and to make unlimited photocopies of items in this journal for noncommercial use in classrooms to further education and science."

      You can search SHERPA/RoMEO to find a journal's copyright information.

    • Contact your Resources Librarian - they may be able to assist in finding a legal copy or acquiring a license for educational use. 

      As a side note, copyright law does give you some leeway with regard to timing. Let's say you've just read the latest issue of a journal, and want to share one of the articles with your students, since it's highly applicable to the topic you're discussing that week. That would likely be allowed (see p.6) because of spontaneous discovery without enough time to get permission from the copyright holder. However, if you're planning your readings weeks in advance, then you do have time to secure permission from the copyright holder.

If the library doesn't own it, and you don't own it...

The library has a few options for acquiring it:

  • Interlibrary loan is one possibility, but due to publisher restrictions, you may not be legally allowed to share it without getting permission from the copyright holder.

  • Purchasing the article may be possible as well. Contact your Resources Librarian for more information.

Check to see if the library owns a digital copy of the book:

 

If the library does own it digitally, you can link to the ebook directly in Blackboard.

 

If you or the library own a physical copy of the book, we can put the book on Course Reserves. The best way to do this is to submit a request via our online Course Reserves form. Here's an example of how you might fill out that part of the form:

Screenshot of faculty reserves request form with 'Penfield Library owns this item.' selected
Example: Penfield owns the book.
Screenshot of faculty reserves request form with 'I will bring a physical copy of this item...' selected
Example: Faculty member owns the book.

If you'd like to scan the chapter so you can make it available online, your best bet is to make sure that your use is in line with fair use principles. You can put it online via Course Reserves, which is likely a safer bet in terms of fair use than just uploading a scanned version to your Blackboard course.

If you don't own a copy, the library may be able to purchase one. We'll likely try to find an ebook version first, because they allow for the possibility of having multiple people access the text at once. If you'd like to explore this option, contact your Resources Librarian.

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